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Our Team

Sarah Newton
Chief Operating Officer


Sarah heads up the BAC, which involves everything from our day-to-day running to ensuring our full compliance with the Code of Sports Governance.

She is responsible for the delivery of the Athlete Support Unit and Athlete Engagement.

Sarah is an experienced operational lead and joined the BAC having led operations for the charity Safe Passage. Her previous operational roles have seen her spend nine years at the Rugby Football Union as well as supporting The Football Association.

Sarah is qualified in Safer Recruitment, GDPR and Understanding Equality and Diversity.

Sam Little
Head of Athlete Support


Sam joined the BAC in early 2018 as Head of Athlete Support after a 20+ year career in the Army.

Sam is a qualified workplace mediator and has an extensive portfolio of work in this area in both the military and high-performance sport. She is passionate about mediation and the powerful benefits that it can have to both individuals and their organisation.

Sam’s work focuses on empowering athletes, both individually and collectively, to have a voice, to raise and resolve their own issues. Sam is an associate member of CIPD.


Carly Baldwin
Communications Manager


Carly joined the BAC in 2020, after five years in the communications team at British Cycling. 

Those five years saw the organisation going through a period of significant change, implementing recommendations from the Cycling Independent Review in order to ensure that athlete wellbeing was prioritised.

Carly also acted as press officer to the Great Britain para-cycling team, accompanying the squad to several world championships and working on behalf of riders and staff to increase coverage of para-cycling.


Kristian Thomas
Athlete Engagement Manager


Kristian, a former gymnast and Olympic medallist, joined the BAC in 2019.

His role provides support to athlete representatives across all funded sports, enabling athletes to help facilitate positive culture for current and future athletes.

Kristian’s own international career came to an end in 2017, and in addition to his Olympic medal in London, saw him podium at world, European and Commonwealth championships.

Hannah Dean
Athlete Support Manager


Hannah joined the BAC in April 2020 as an Athlete Support Manager.

Based in the north of England, Hannah forms part of the Athlete Support Team, offering case management support and guidance to funded and other elite sports.

With a HR background and CIPD qualification, Hannah brings strong case management experience to guide and support athletes through a range of issues which may arise throughout their career.

With a keen interest in sport and having played high-level sport as a junior, Hannah brings personal experience and passion to the role.


Elaine Francis
Athlete Support Manager


Elaine joined the BAC as Head of Safeguarding and Athlete Support Manager in March 2021.

Prior to this, she worked at the NSPCC, from where she was seconded to the BAC to lead the support team set up specifically to offer end-to-end case management for children, families and elite athletes affected by allegations of mistreatment in gymnastics.

Elaine held a team manager role at the NSPCC from 2019, and prior to that gained considerable experience in Social Worker and Senior Social Worker roles in both England and Northern Ireland.

As part of her role at the BAC, Elaine works alongside both athletes and sports to ensure that safeguarding processes are understood and being correctly implemented.


Emma Speer
Athlete Support Manager


Emma joined the BAC permanently in October 2021, after almost a year seconded to the organisation from the NSPCC, providing support those children, athletes and families submitting evidence to the Whyte Review into mistreatment in gymnastics.

As well as her role as an Athlete Support Manager, she leads on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within the organisation, ensuring that the BAC is constantly progressing in this regard.

Prior to this, Emma worked as a Helpline Practitioner for the NSPCC, following a role as a Senior Safeguarding Children and Families Officer at a high school in Leeds.

Based in Belfast, Emma is passionate about sport having played international football for Northern Ireland at youth level and completed a degree in sports studies at Leeds Beckett University.

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